Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Been away again

This time to Pitlochry - we stayed here , just for a couple of nights.

Me, A and Granny went down to meet up with some friends from Norwich - an old family friend and her two daughters aged 10 and 12 (they came up and stayed with us last summer, for anyone who was reading this back then and remembers!).

It is a wonderful part of the country, we went out hiking in the beautiful surrounding countryside, and generally had a really nice time catching up with our friends. It was perfect timing for A, who enjoyed socialising at the hostel - playing pool, learning chess (which we're going to continue with at home) and hanging out in the TV room.

So - here are some pics!


We got a bit wet the first day,
but generally were very lucky with the weather
The Pitlochry Dam
View from the Dam
We stopped for a paddle in the river
A small loch in the woods

The Falls of Bruar

We stopped off here on our way home. I wasn't that keen to do more walking after the previous day's long hike, but I was really glad we did as it was SO beautiful, these pictures don't do it justice at all.
The lower falls
A view down
At the bottom
A was our tour guide for the walk -
some fascinating (and highly questionable) 'facts'
A contemplative moment

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Social Stuff - Wobbles

A's dissatisfaction with the amount of time spent with friends over the summer came to a head yesterday, when she told me "I've only got about 10 real friends, including my cousins." I said I thought that was pretty good - and more than I had, but she wasn't happy. This threw me into a bit of a panicky/self-doubting/crap parent quandary.

I know that the school playground environment is the very thing that pushes many kids to want to get out and HE, and it wasn't all plain sailing for A all of the time, but it is the one thing she misses about school - social time.

I'm trying to tread carefully here, as I know the 'social isolation' issue is often used as a criticism of HE. I don't think A is socially isolated, she has friends, but she doesn't see them as often as she would like.
Whenever this issue is raised there always seems to be HEors who say things like: "oh, my kids have loads of friends, they don't have time to fit them all in, the house is always full of kids", which somehow makes me feel a bit inadequate as thats not our experience at all.

Our local HE network, lovely as it is, is very widespread and meetings are sporadic, so although we have attended quite a few events and A has got on well with some of the kids, no strong friendships have been built up.

I suppose what worries me most is that its my fault, and somehow I'm limiting her chances. I have specific problems with social stuff, and don't function well in group situations. I have a handful of close friends, but am quite happy spending time by myself, in fact I find I need regular time alone to keep my head together.
A's Dad was the opposite, he couldn't bear to be alone, and while A isn't that extreme I think she's more like him than me when it comes to sociability.

I have made a real effort to take A to different things, like the HE group, astronomy class, nature workshops - as I know this is really important for her. And while I've struggled at times, its probably been good for me too, as I've pushed myself to go to things that I've ended up enjoying. But I cant help feeling that if I was more outgoing it would give A more social opportunities.

We discussed going to school yesterday. Educationally I hate the idea of this - I know without a doubt that HE is the best for A. At the moment she doesn't want to try the local school, but I'm aware that if she continues to feel lonely she may choose to go to school in order to spend more time with friends.

A is joining a new local drama group next week, and I'm still trying to get hold of the local Guides leader to find out about A joining Guides. This is my main hope at the moment - that A will make friends with some local kids and so will get to socialise a bit more after school and at weekends. If this doesn't work out I'm not sure what to try next.

I'd really appreciate some comments here if other people are willing to share experiences on this issue.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Pampering day

I got up yesterday to find posters around the house announcing 'Pampering Day' - with the promise of "a posh drink and a pampering" and "a time to relax and enjoy life". This was my menu:

I was allowed two drinks, so went for 'WOW water' and 'exotic passion' (!) The first was very refreshing, and seemed to be iced water with a hint of apple, the second was more citrusy, presented in a champagne glass with a straw.
I then had a shoulder massage; a lip makeover; a relaxing story; and made some scented hand cream.
A has provided this sort of treat a few times - for her Grannies and various visitors - and she is SO good at it. She is so giving, and really great with people. It makes me very proud and thankful that I have this person in my life :0)

A had a lovely time with her cousins last week, the time seemed to go so fast though. She only sees them once or twice a year, and we probably wont see them again til next June now, so it was a bit sad saying goodbye.

The climbing wall at Landmark

bouncing fun in Granny's garden

We attended Tilda's film festival again - this year it was a pilgrimage across Scotland, taking the Screen_Machine moblie cinema to different small towns and villages along the way. I took A and her friends to see A_Bag_of_Rice, a wonderful Iranian film about a little girl and her elderly neighbour going on a journey to collect (45kg!!!) of rice. I also went (without A) to see Night_of_the_Hunter , a beautiful, if scary film about two children on the run from a murderous preacher. Robert Mitchum is wonderfully sinister as the psychotic killer, particularly loved his hymn singing - very effective. I'd seen the film years ago and it stuck in my memory, so was really pleased to catch it again.
I hope this is going to continue as an annual festival, its fantastic to have the opportunity to see these obscure, unusual films, and the atmosphere is so warm and friendly - a real community feel. Nobody is disapproving of young children being around ( I was sat next to a woman breastfeeding her tiny baby at 'Night of the Hunter') in fact quite the opposite - all ages are welcomed and encouraged and the choice of films reflects this. At the Bag of Rice showing we went to home baking was passed round to everyone in the queue, and at all showings there is music and dancing before the film, and everyone applauds at the end of the film - now you don't get that at Vue or Odeon cimemas!!

Friday, 7 August 2009

More from Rogart break

A couple more from Carn Liath:

The bone collectors: we found some very
interesting specimens along the beach

Spotted this gorgeous family of seals, there were loads more
following and watching us from the sea

the beach at Dornoch

Been busy!!

Went here a couple of weeks ago with our lovely friends. Here are some pics:

our carriage, and a child counting for hide and seek
a walk in the woods on our first night - a beautiful evening!

Dunrobin_Castle - couldn't find a way to sneak in so admired from afar

Coastal walk from Golspie to Brora

A chocolate break at Carn_Liath - interesting iron age site

more to come....